Wall Mossberg has just posted a review of a PC’s on his blog called Dell Goes on Ultrabook Diet With Slimmed-Down Laptop. But not surprisingly he also mentions the MacBook Air no less that 8 times in comparison. Granted he did not give a a totally bad review with comments such as:
“I found it to be solid and well built, speedy and with a good, backlit keyboard, a bright screen, and good looks.”
But just as in his review of other Ultra books such as the Samsung Series 9 he is quick to point out the weak points but then only glosses over any of the strengths when compared to the MacBook Air such as USB3, better specs, or bigger screen.
Then queue that the standard “battery life is not as good as a MacBook Air using his standard test” statement (not verbatim) that he uses for all Ultrabook reviews. With his non-scientific test which “use full brightness, disable power-saving software, leave on the Wi-Fi, and play a loop of music”. Really!!! Let me just list the ways this is a completely wrong way to use it…
1. He complains about the out of the box Bing bar being installed but he customises the out of the box power setting and then does his test… If you are going to complain about out of the box software then you should not customise out of the box settings as well.
2. He turns the power features off and then plays a loop of music. Who in the world deliberately does this? Who would ever say “I want to listen to music in the most power wastefully way possible”… No one… I would also like to know if his music loop is playing using that most in-efficient software called iTunes using far more CPU than other programs and probably far less optimised for audio playback in Windows then on OSX.
3. Running a power test with power saving turned off means that the CPU would un-necessarily be running at full clock speed without any reason. This is like running a MPG test on a car after you have removed all the full saving features from the engine then refusing to use 5th gear as the other car you tested before did not also have a 5th gear… Essentially you are using the computer in a un-efficient and very un-typical configuration for anyone who uses their laptop on battery often.
4. At the top of his article he has a two word saying “Ethics Statement” when you click on this link Walt in his own words says “I am a subjective opinion columnist”.
He can’t have it both ways… If he is going to test the battery life of any computer then they should be judged on the out of the box setting of the device OR stop complaining about the out of the box software install in the OS. Why? If a person is knowledgeable enough change the power plan of a computer they are probably also smart enough to un-install pre-loaded software.
5. Price. He also points out that this computer is about $300 less than a MacBook Air but the the Dell comes with Office which is NOT included with Air so makes no compensation for the fact the Dell has more value in hardware AND software.
Until he puts an end to these “Subjective” reviews and becomes a little more scientific the PC industry just has to stop give this guy any attention…
With the pending release of Windows 8 beta (a.k.a. Consumer Preview) it seems that all sorts of people are publishing their positive and negative blog posts (see Windows 8 – to be or not to be? and Why Windows 8 Will be A Flop!! and Five Reasons why Windows 8 will be dead on arrival )Windows 8 will be a failure. What is totally perplexing to me is that people seem to have made up their minds about the new OS before they have even used the final product. I have no doubt that there is much more to be announced by Microsoft this month regarding the OS which may or may not change peoples minds but this is a post to talk about the what is known today and why this is NOT going to be another Windows Vista like many people claim it will be…
This is a topic which I have never seen when people talk about Windows 8. Steven Sinofsky during BUILD Keynote showed that the developer preview consumes less system resources than Windows 7. He even when on to say that this will improved even more over the Windows 8 development lifecycle. But even at the early stage of the development it uses less CPU and RAM which directly translates to better performance and improved battery life. Microsoft have also stated that every single computer that runs Windows 7 today can run Windows 8. Meaning that Windows 8 will be able to run on pretty much any computer that has been made since Windows Vista.
If you remember Windows Vista had hardware specs that more than doubled from Windows XP. This was made very evident to me when I loaded Vista that my father’s desktop computer with 512mb RAM. The system certainly meet the minimum specs for Vista but it was OMG slow….(Stay with me here) I then upgrade the same system to 1gb RAM and the performance improved greatly with Vista. Much later I again upgrade the computer to Windows 7 and again the performance was much improved… Now with the upcoming Windows 8 his computer will again use less RAM and CPU and thus again get another performance improvement.
This means that every single computer sold since Vista (and some before) will be able to run Windows 8 better than Vista or 7 almost without exception. Meaning there will be a MASSIVE base of computers today that will be able to run Windows 8 better than the current OS. This is a VASTLY different story to than when Windows Vista as it only ran well on all but the newest computers (and even then some did not work well)…
Again Windows 8 will be able to run any application that work in Windows 7, this was a vastly different to the story with AppCompat when Vista can out and I know first hand was one of the big reasons why enterprise were slow (or did not) adopt Vista… Not having this barrier will mean that any company that has made the jump to Windows 7 will have a much smaller effort to run Windows 8. Couple this with all organisations that have Enterprise Agreement licences will already own Windows 8 not to mention the similar deployment method (as they are now) it all but eliminates the technical or financial barriers to adoption in the Enterprise… (Not i say technical and financial… More on this later).
No Compromise Tablets
Clearly the market for Tablet computing is currently booming and Windows 8 UI is optimised for the touch UI. Having used Windows 8 on a tablet device for the past 3 months I have no doubt that its new UI is great for touch device. Even some of the optimisation for the Desktop such as the improved touch keyboard make it a much better to use… But its not all about the UI. The fact that the Windows 8 will support ARM processors means that we will see computers running Windows 8 with 10+ hours battery life and instant on/off. These are clearly some key features that are needed for Microsoft to compete against the the iPad and other slate devices…
I would also point out that browsing the web using IE (not metro) will allow users to have a truly no compromise web experience touch experience by allowing browser add-on’s such as flash and Silverlight or even the new ability to make Facebook to Skype calls from within the web page. This is something that the iPad can certainly not claim and one that android devices only partly support on a few slate devices.
So when you combine a rich table/touch experience with the full desktop experience and the ability to easily use a keyboard and mouse it makes a 100% no compromise consumption and creation computing OS… Something I am sure that Apple and Google would love to be able to claim with their respective OS’s.
The Windows 8 Marketplace is going to be huge… Even if in worst case only half the number of Windows 8 licences are sold as Windows 7 there are still going to be hundreds of millions of installed of Windows 8 users for developer to sell their apps. I believe this above all other efforts is what is going to attract developers to the market place… not WinRT, not the ability to use the language of choice… not the familiar developer tools… but users. When you have a big audience you can sell your apps to then the developers will come running because more users = more sales and more sales = more money and more money = more developers…
Desktop + Metro UI
I would expect that someone looking at the Windows 8 UI for the first time their initial response will be something like… Whoa that is different!!! and of course they would be right. A lot of seasoned Windows users might even feel put off by the new menu… but that is all it is… a start menu. While the start menu is certainly an important part of Windows for over 15 years something that has become really obvious with using Windows 8 a lot is that its not something that is actually used all that often… Certainly the Metro Start menu in Windows 8 will probably be user more often when there are more useful Metro Apps available however for now the desktop is certainly where i still expect to spend most of my time using Windows 8.
My biggest concern is if the UI is going to be great on devices that do not have touch? That I am not sure. I have certainly posted before about this Better Together: Windows 8 + Microsoft Touch Mouse and some of the recent video’s form CES (see Video: Windows 8 build 8175 hands-on (via TheVerge) has show better keyboard/mouse integration with the Metro UI however will this be enough? I don’t know… But i would point out that start screen on the iPad is only a grid of almost completely static icons while the Metro start menu is a grid live tiles. One is small and static and the other is large and dynamic… A difference yes, but in practical terms how much different is this to task launcher of other products…
Personally I have not spent much time in the start menu as the list of applications are limited and all the programs I use often are pinned to the task bar. So I really have not immersed myself in the new UI… I do think that some of the new ways to use the Metro UI are very nice but are not all that discoverable so i wounder how a person with no knowledge of the new Windows 8 interface will discover the new feature.
My only concern right now with the Metro UI is the lack of discoverability of the charms, and task switcher when you swipe from the edges of the screen… I can only assume that Microsoft will have do something to make this more discoverable. We will see..
(There is the obvious solution as a first run video intro for new users but this could get very old very quick somewhat like the Windows XP video that plays for the first time you install the OS. If it were up to me then I would probably add the pop-up tool tips but make sure that they only run for a user that is starting with the OS, not a seasoned using an existing profile… )
It is clear that Windows 8 is going to have a far more features (Just see my other post What is new in Windows 8 ) than what I just mentioned above… Some of these feature are pretty amazing and some are not so impressive, but the list of improvements are long and is as of now still not complete. We are certainly going to learn a lot more about Windows 8 later this month when the consumer preview is released and it is already clear that Microsoft are definitely taking some risks with the new UI. Weather these risks will pay off of not nobody know but what Microsoft are certainly not doing is making that same mistakes of Windows Vista that much is sure…
Seem like some adventurous guys decided to break the 20km Fukshima exclusion zone to drive in and take some videos. What is really interesting about this video is that even when they got to 1.5km from the reactor they did not get above 112uSv/h of radiation… That might sound it is actually less from the yearly does from natural potassium in the body.
Thanks to Hilton Travis for correcting my misunderstanding of the radiation levels…
“The thing here that you’ve missed is that, according to the chart, the yearly dose of radiation from Potassium in your body is around 390uSv. That’s 390 uSv in 1 year, or 0.045 uSv per hour.
Now, these guys had readings of 112 uSv/h which is 2515 * the average hourly Potassium-caused radiation you’d receive.
Again, according to the chart, 100 mSv is the lowest dosage (in a year) that’s been linked to increased cancer risk. So, at 112 uSv/h that would mean that just over a month in there (37 days) right now would give you this 100 mSv of radiation.
If the background radiation received by the average person is 3.65 mSv, then in about 32.5 hours at that location, you’d receive an average year’s worth of radiation.
So, while the levels present where these guys went aren’t extreme, they sure are enough that I wouldn’t want to be living there.”
Watch the video below and use the Deep Zoom Radiation Dose Chart as reference to how much radiation they are receiving…
Its now been 6 months since the release of Windows Phone and Microsoft have finally started to push out update to the phone. However even with all the hoopla around the delays of getting updated out to the phone I have to admit I still really like using my Windows Phone (so much so I have bought a seconds one). Therefore I thought I would explain some of the reasons why I think Windows Phone is still a great phone to use everyday.
I love how it takes only seconds to sync the contents of my phone with the Zune software on my PC. The ability to quickly sync my phone when running out the door to catch a buss with a full two hours of public transport travel ahead of me is wonderful. This is way better than the number of time I plugged my iPhone in to sync before leavening for work only to have the process take forever (many minutes) or even totally stall.
I mainly listen to podcast on my Windows Phone and I like how tapping the Next button makes it jump ahead 30 seconds which makes it very easy to find what I am looking for or to just jump over an add that I don’t want to hear. What is also nice is that when I press the Previous button it only goes back 7 seconds meaning I can quickly listen again to something I have missed.
The Pictures Hub is also really great and being able to show your friends photos in film strip mode is a really nice way to quickly scan your photos. What is also nice about the Pictures Hub is the Facebook integration that means that my Facebook photo’s automatically re-appeared in my pictures hub. This was a real time save as after I changed over my phone from a HTC Mozart to a HTC HD7 as all i had to do is type in my Facebook credentials to get my photos back on the phone.
Another nice feature about the Pictures Hub is that now that Yahoo has released the “Flickr for Windows Phone 7” App so you can easily upload any photo my phone to Flickr. All this while still preserving the meta information on the picture such as geo-location without having to launch a separate upload App.
I really like my Xbox and being able to earn Xbox Live gamer points has its very nice. This makes playing games such as as Flight Control, Fruit Ninja and soon Angry Birds all the more fun buy getting more points. The added geek factor by show people that I have Xbox on my phone and how it makes them extremely envious is also pretty cool…
Find my phone
While I have not had a need to use it yet it is very re-asuring that I can go to http://windowsphone.live.com Find, Lock, Beep or even Wipe should anything happen.
While my new HTC HD7 already came with the NoDo (copy and paste) update out of the box my HTC Mozart has only just got the February update (in April). While it was agonising to wait for the update to be delivered when it was FINALLY pushed out to the phone the update process was quick and and it did NOT need to flash the entire firmware for a minor update.
Note that even the the screenshot below said 20 minutes the whole process including download and flashing took about 5 minutes to complete.
Another nice thing about having Facebook and Windows Live integration with the phone is that it sync the contact details on my phone with the “Cloud”. Again this made the transition from my Mozart to the HD7 a lot less painful and it meant that I did not have to manually transfer any contact details back into my phone.
Sidenote: My wife just started to use my HTC Mozart which did required us to manually type in some contact details that was save to her old phone (not on the SIM). This was a real paint but when I pointed out that now she has these contact details in the cloud she will never have to do this again she could see the point it what we were doing.
Dedicated Camera Button
With the proliferation of SmartPhone cameras many people have been able to capture those special moment that they would other wise been able to capture because they did not have a phone at hands reach. Having two daughters under five I can really appreciate how having a dedicated camera button will allow you to quickly take a picture or video before the moment has passed.
Auto Upload to SkyDrive
As I mentioned before I have two daughters and the photos I take of them are just priceless (even the bad one’s). Therefore I have great confidence that I will never lose a photo taken with my phone as I know that almost as soon as I take a photo it is automatically uploaded to the cloud in my own private folder on SkyDrive.
The Size I Want
As I have mentioned before I now own two Windows Phone’s, the HTC HD7 with a 4.3” screen and a HTC Mozart with a 3.8” screen. I mainly bought the HD7 due to the bigger screen and the larger on board storage as compared to the HD7 and while I am not 100% certain that having a larger screen is better it is nice that I have the choice of screen sizes.
A lot can be said about personal preference with the Windows Phone UI however one feature of the UI I really like is the live tiles feature. Normally I have my home screen configured with 7 live tiles on my start menu and 2 of which are third party programs (Twit and Beeze). While a lot of people scoffed at the “Really” adds saying that the same can be said for Windows Phone it is very true that having the live tile support makes it much quicker and easier to just glance at your phone to see if there is anything new.
Pinning a contact is not something I initially thought was all that great a feature and normally I only have one pinned contacts on my phone (my wife). What was interesting is that my wife has now pinned 5 people (her friend’s, her mum and me) on the start screen as she find it really nice how she can quickly call or SMS anyone of us.
Another feature that you don’t think much about but now that Micro USB is becoming more a defacto standard for peripherals I find that I never have to think much about making sure I have a cable to charge or sync my phone. It is also nice to know that if i don’t have a cable on me that easily pick one up for under $10 or I use it as an excuse to buy another pocket USB hard drive which has the same cable.
While the current NoDo update is still being rolled out to phones around the world that lets people use much wanted “copy and paste” feature on Windows Phone what I really am looking forward to is some of the new features that have been announced that will be delivered to the phone by the the end of the year.
IE9 with HTML5 support and hardware acceleration
Multi-Tasking or better described as quick pause and resume
Twitter integration with contact
Granted they will have to actually deliver these feature in the “Mango” update to Windows Phone I hold out great hope that these features (and possibly others) will make the phone even greater going into the future.
Cancelled… Did anyone use Wave more than once? Nuf said.
Delayed until 2011 after saying it would be out late 2010 No silver lining in Chrome OS delays Relevant Results – CNET News . A lot of people are also saying they just don’t get understand what’s the point of a Chrome OS device when you will be able to run Windows (or even Linux) on the same sort of device for the same price but do more…
After lots of initial complaints about having crap support for the phone Google Nexus One Problems- Support Forums Failing-, after only a few months Google stopped selling the phone Google changes Nexus One plans, will stop selling handsets online. While Android OS has been successful it seems that by Google selling an anointed phone was just confusing for consumers and seeing that it could only be bought online made this a phone which was destined to failure. Maybe Microsoft should have learnt this lesson from Google as even good phone can fail (e.g. Kin) if the are not marketed correctly.
Update2: Seems that TechCrunch also has a thing against Google… they have posted another vicious article Can Google get its MoJo Back? Some of the other failures that mention that I have not already listed below are:
How it takes six months to fix a SMS bug in Android
Not to mention people abandoning it Google App due to strange things happening.
Now I want to be clear that I am not saying this means that Google is destined to failure nor and I acknowledge they have also had many successes such as Android, Chrome Browser, Gmail and of course Search.
What I do think this shows is that technology is hard and that if you are going to have few successes you are also going to get a few failures and even Google is not immune to having a failure or to along the way…